When we first arrived in Costa Rica, we were exposed to the more urban side. This included being able to visit the large mall, weave through bustling traffic and cross train tracks on our way to the university every morning. This became my standard for what Costa Rica is like; however, as we drove away from the Central Valley and towards Monteverde, it was easy to see that this was not the case.
When we got to the rest stop during our long drive, many of us were humored by the sight of cows keeping their balance on what seemed to be almost 90 degree cliffs. Upon further inspection, we also got to see a small caged area with different types of chickens. It was somewhat of a shock to crossover from urban to rural and see so many free animals wondering about. We also experienced a transition from paved roads to dirt roads. This caused for some rocking of the bus, which was an interesting addition to the long drive.
At the same rest stop, all the souvenirs were given a price in US dollars and workers spoke enough English to accommodate tourists. I think it is an interesting aspect of the area and tells a lot about the reliance on tourism. The scenery was so open and clear that nothing kept us from seeing so far into the distance. Even within Monteverde there are changes in style. When learning about the Quakers’ journey to Costa Rica, we were in a small house away from everything else, but with a short walk into town there was a large selection of stores to visit. No matter what area of Monteverde we were in, we made a lot of stray dog friends.